By Tammy Sue Struble
Three city council seats will be on the ballot for the April 12 election for the City of Zephyrhills, but there’s only a race in one of them.
That race pits incumbent Manny Funes against Zephyrhills business owner Charlie Proctor, the owner and operator of Charlie’s Coins & Collectibles and Charlie’s Auto Detail businesses on Eighth Street in Zephyrhills.
Proctor chose to run for city council because he “wanted to give back to the community.” Born in Portland, Maine, the seventh of 10 kids, Proctor has a high school education from Lake Region High in Bridgton, Maine.
In 1989, Proctor chose to move to the warmer Florida climate.
“I got a job the second day here washing cars,” explained Proctor. “I also worked at Hill’s Grocery cutting meat.” Now, Proctor has been at the same location for over 20 years, detailing cars and has added coin collecting, buying and selling to his repertoire.
“I believe I have the spirit of getting the job done. Whether it be digging in and getting my hands dirty or whether it be balancing the budget,” added Proctor. “I do support the Fire Department and the Zephyrhills Police Department 100 percent. I believe they are a major part of the Zephyrhills community in keeping us safe. I believe we need to have some unity on the city council. I believe that we need successful business persons on-board. Business people have a lot to offer with times of budget (crisis).”
On the issue of the Zephyrhills’ impending shortfall of around $1 million going into next year, Proctor states that he has been looking into the budget.
“We’re definitely going to have to do a top to bottom look at expenditures. Unfortunately, there’s going to have to be some kind of cutbacks. This needs to run like a business.”
Although Proctor has missed several recent city council meetings, he cited unavoidable circumstances made it impossible for him to attend. He intends on being at as many city council meetings as possible.
Proctor states that he has been endorsed by the Pasco County Council of Firefighters and the Florida Professional Firefighters.
Funes, a Realtor, is Proctor’s opponent. Originally from Hawaii, the Air Force veteran became a Floridian in 1965. Funes has a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from St. Thomas University in South Florida and served more than 20 years in law enforcement, starting as a police officer in Miami Police Department, 12 years with Florida Department of Law Enforcement, with the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office, the Florida Department of Revenue and retiring as captain with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.
Funes works at Prudential Tropical Realty in Zephyrhills.
Funes is involved in the Zephyrhills community. He taught criminal justice at Zephyrhills High for four years and has been a supporter in the community, especially through his 16 years of service in the Rotary organization.
Some projects he has been involved with throughout the years include, but are not limited to, the Relay For Life, Adopt-a-Precinct election worker, Meals On Wheels fundraising, supporter of the Samaritan Project, Pregnancy Care Center, Cares Senior Center and Zephyrhills High.
“I’ve been with the city council for two and a half years. I have a good perspective with how the city is run,” Funes explained. “My experience in law enforcement, teaching and being a realtor gives me a unique ability to address the needs of the city.”
As for the city’s impending concerns, Funes said, “I think it’s going to be very difficult not to raise the taxes to maintain the service for the residents of Zephyrhills. But, raising taxes is a possibility and, raising taxes may not be enough. I don’t want to lose any employees, but we may have to. I am waiting on information from department heads and staff before making decisions to raise taxes and /or do layoffs.”
Funes said he has only missed one city council meeting as council member — when he went on vacation last year. He has been endorsed by the East Pasco Association of Realtors. He has been awarded numerous volunteer and humanitarian awards over the last 12 years.
Election Day is 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 12.
Since Lance Smith and Kenneth Compton did not draw opponents for their council seats, only Seat 5 is on the ballot. Voters can select incumbent Manny Funes or opponent Charlie Proctor.